Many banking on multiplier effect from rail project

JOHOR BARU: Business organisations are hoping that the proposed Kuala Lumpur-Johor High Speed Rail (HSR) project under Budget 2022 proceeds even without Singapore’s participation.

Johor Baru Chinese Chamber of Commerce president Low Kueck Shin said the project should go ahead despite certain parties questioning its viability.

“The government’s role is to promote economic growth and not do business,” he said when contacted.

Low added that the government should look at the economic multiplier effects from the project.

He said even in China, only certain high-speed rail services were making a profit, including the Beijing-Shanghai route, but the non-profitable routes remain in service.

Low said the government would also not proceed with the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project if it were not viable, adding that the Kuala Lumpur-Iskandar Puteri route has a higher density than routes in the east coast states.

Iskandar Malaysia Johor Chamber of Commerce adviser Md Salikon Sarpin said the HSR project would further improve connectivity throughout the peninsula.

“Instead of connecting Iskandar Malaysia in south Johor with it ending in Kuala Lumpur, the project should be extended up to Penang in the north,” he said.

Md Salikon said the people should leave it to the government to determine if the project was viable and should be revived, given the fact that it was part of a transportation system that would improve connectivity.

Md Salikon said if the project were to go through, it would spur development in other parts of the country including at urban centres and towns where stations are located along the route.

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